New electric tattoo wearable technology will replace the conventional ECG methods by monitoring heart health more precisely.
FREMONT, CA: The report of the National Center for Health Statistics says more than 45,000 deaths are caused due to cardiovascular diseases (CVD). It is estimated that heart issues are killing more than fifteen million people every year. Half of CVS’s deaths are caused due to strokes and heart attacks. From a long time, researchers have been looking for alternatives to traditional electrocardiograph machines for heart monitoring. The new e-tattoo introduced can monitor heart health more accurately; it is made of stretchy, lightweight material.
The engineers of the University of Texas at Austin have developed the electronic tattoo. It can be placed on the skin to measure various body responses, including heart movements. The electric tattoo is a stretchable, lightweight device that can be placed over the heart for extended periods with less discomfort. The graphene-based wearable is made of polyvinylidene fluoride, a piezoelectric polymer which is capable of generating its electric charge in response to mechanical stress. A 3D digital image correlation technology is also attached to that to map chest vibrations to identify the best location on the chest to place the e-tattoo.
The e-tattoo takes readings of electrocardiograph and seism cardiograph simultaneously, to measure cardiac health. Electrocardiograph or ECG records the rates of electrical activity produced at every heartbeat. Whereas Seism cardiography (SCG) measures using chest vibrations associated with a pulse. E-tattoo is a streamlined way to monitor heart health. It is powered remotely by a smartphone, and it is the first ultrathin technology to measure ECG and SCG.
Traditional ECG methods require a doctor to carry out the process, and with that health can be measured only for a few minutes. On the other hand, e-tattoo can be worn for days to provide constant heart monitoring and no need of going to a specific clinician for that.
The main factors that tend to increase the risk of developing cardiovascular disease are smoking, lack of physical activity, high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, poor diet particularly high in sugar consumption, and cholesterol.
An associate professor in the departments of Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics and Biomedical Engineering, Nanshu Lu says with the help of the e-tattoo, now it is easier to get greater insight into heart health by the collection of data from both sources.
Nanshu Lu is working with her team to improve the device’s data collection and storage capabilities. They recently developed a smartphone app, which can store the data safely, and also shows a heart beating on the screen in real-time.
A soft electro-mechano-acoustic (EMAC) is made by integrating the soft SCG sensor with a pair of thin gold electrodes. It can perform synchronous ECG and SCG measurements and extract various cardiac time intervals, including systolic time interval.
The EMAC tattoo can track the blood pressure (BP) continuously and noninvasively in a much simpler way. It can strongly correlate between systolic and diastolic blood pressures and systolic time intervals and can be worn remotely for an extended period.
For best results, wearable e-tattoos should be placed on the skin of the patient or directly above the heart. This wearable will monitor heart health without the hassle and will provide results with more accuracy.